For men and boys, insecurity about the size of their penis is common. Feelings of inadequacy or anxiety about size and shape are perfectly normal but can affect the self-esteem and personal relationships of many men. Men are concerned that their penis is smaller than it should be, or that isn’t large enough to satisfy a partner. Many feel like they must be ‘fixed’.
Some cultures have a strong association between penis size and masculinity, relating the size of a penis to characteristics such as strength, virility and ‘manliness’. What’s more, many companies have made their fortune by selling pills, tools and other products that claim to enlarge the penis, perpetuating the myth that ‘bigger is better’.
What’s a normal penis size? How can you tackle negative effects that your insecurity is having on your sex life?
Penis sizes around the world
What is the average size? Here are some of the key facts from 16 different studies around the world:
- As many as 45% of men believe they have a small penis.
- Average length when flaccid was from 7 to 10 centimetres (2.8 to 3.9 inches).
- Flaccid circumference/girth was between 9 to 10 centimetres (3.5 to 3.9 inches) when flacid.
- Erect the average length ranged from 12 to 16 centimetres (4.7 to 6.3 inches).
- When erect the circumference was around 12 centimetres (4.7 inches).
When it comes to a medically-defined ‘small penis’ that could be considered for treatment, a study in the Journal of Urology concluded that “only men with a flaccid length of less than 4 centimetres (1.6 inches), or a stretched or erect length of less than 7.5 centimetres (3 inches) should be considered candidates for penile lengthening.”
How to measure your penis
Measuring works best when your penis is erect. You may get different results each time – that’s normal.
- Measure the top edge of your penis – the side you can see when you look down.
- Measure from the tip to the pelvic bone – press the ruler into your groin until you feel resistance to compensate for hair, fat and skin.
- Measure with the ruler at a right angle to your body when your penis is straight. If you have a bend to your penis, use a flexible measuring tape to follow the curve.
- Measure mid-shaft, where the thickness is most even.
- Wrap the measuring tape gently around, until it’s snug.
- If you don’t have a flexible tape, use paper, a shoelace or some string to wrap around, then measure that length.
Knowing your penis size is important when you’re buying condoms. The better the fit, the better the condom will work and the safer you and your partner will be. Otherwise, it’s not really important at all.
Stress and anxiety when having sex
There’s a link between your state of mind and your sexual performance.
If you’re stressed about your penis size it can lead to premature ejaculation (PE) and/or erectile dysfunction (ED). Both these conditions can be caused or made worse by anxiety about sexual performance.
Feeling like you don’t measure up in terms of size, duration or hardness can lead to low self-esteem and more anxiety, affecting your sex life further and creating a vicious circle. But there are treatments available.
What are PE and ED?
Premature ejaculation is when a man orgasms too early during sexual activity. The causes of PE are varied and not always clear, but this issues affects most men at some point in their lives.
Erectile dysfunction is when a man is unable to gain or maintain an erection sufficient for penetrative sex. The physical issues that can cause ED include:
- Heart disease
- Low testosterone
- Blood flow issues
- Hormonal fluctuation
- Nerve damage
How to treat premature ejaculation
Online Doctor provides a variety of ways to treat premature ejaculation. Common methods include:
- Prescription tablets
- Local anaesthetic creams that work by desensitising the penis when applied
- Condoms that contain a local anaesthetic
- Behavioural techniques that will help ‘unlearn’ the habit of premature ejaculation
- Counselling to alleviate the emotional or psychological causes
Our online premature ejaculation clinic offers Priligy and EMLA cream, as well as a free online assessment by NHS-experienced clinicians. Privacy is guaranteed, so you can seek confidential assistance from the comfort of your own home.
How to treat erectile dysfunction
Online Doctor offers several effective medicines for the treatment of erectile dysfunction, including:
- Sildenafil (generic Viagra)
- Tadalafil (generic Cialis)
- Cialis Daily
However medication isn’t the only option – a study from the University of the West found that pelvic exercises helped 40% of men with ED regain normal erections. They also helped an additional 33.5% significantly improve their erectile function.
Pelvic floor exercises work by improving the strength of the pelvic floor muscles. For men they help to strengthen the bulbocavernosus muscle, which functions in three ways:
- It allows the penis to engorge with blood during erection.
- It pumps during ejaculation.
- It helps empty the urethra after urination.
If you’re concerned about your sexual performance, visit the LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor Men’s Health Clinic, where you’ll find free assessments for PE and ED, plus routes to treatment.